All goes swimmingly for this American bachelor in Paris until his old schoolmate Robert shows up and his three airline hostess fiancées get off schedule and arrive more or less simultaneously. Such is the plot of this 1962 French farce by Marc Camoletti. Its seven-year stint in London was the longest international run of any French play. Revived in New York in 2008, it won a Tony.
When I saw it this weekend, every seat in the house was filled and a few temporary extra seats were even moved into the auditorium. Nearly everybody left the theater sporting a broad smile. It's that kind of show: good fun with nary a social conscience in sight.
The timing of the appearances and disappearances of the three hostesses has to be precise to make the plot work, and director Victoria Liberatori and her able cast do make it work. Liberatori is also the producing director of Aux Dog. (The unusual name of the theater is pronounced "ox dog" and is a reference to the "auxiliary dog" who used to accompany the founder of the theater everywhere he went.)
The cast includes two actors in supporting roles who turn in far more than mere supporting performances. Matthew Puett, a young actor in his first Albuquerque stage role, brings Bernard's friend Robert alive. He throws himself enthusiastically into this role and, in the process, makes the character grow in front of your eyes from a milquetoast to a man who knows what he wants and gets it. Angela Littleton, as the maid, uses her wealth of experience in New York, Arkansas, Hawaii and Oregon to portray the sardonic, witty and usually self-possessed French maid.
The airline hostesses are of three nationalities, American (Sheridan Johnson), German (Jessica Osbourne) and Italian (Merritt Glover), and each has her own accent, dress code and diet, making for a pleasant montage of national prejudices. The American for example, opens the day by having ketchup and lemonade with her breakfast.
This play is a good lesson in the old rubric that theater is, above all, to be enjoyed. It continues through December 1 at the Aux Dog, 3011 Monte Vista in Albuquerque. Call 254-7716 or visit auxdog.com.